Tag: Geoff Anderson

CNBC: Walkable neighborhoods key to revitalizing America’s struggling suburbs

Bethesda Row
Bethesda Row in Bethesda, MD, is a walkable area amidst a suburban community. Photo by ehpien via Flickr.

Suburbs around the country are reinventing themselves by adopting pedestrian-friendly streets and amenities, according to a new special report by CNBC. The growing demand for neighborhoods where people can walk to shops, restaurants, parks and schools is outpacing supply—but creating walkable communities goes beyond simply building sidewalks. Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America spoke to CNBC about the new trend.

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Congressional testimony on brownfields highlights economic opportunities of redevelopment

Geoff Anderson

Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week at a hearing titled “Cleaning Up and Restoring Communities for Economic Revitalization.” Joining him were Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator at the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Honorable Debbie O’Malley, Bernalillo County Commissioner from New Mexico, and Dr. Kendra Kenyon, President of the Idaho Council of Governments.

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Geoff Anderson to testify before Congress today in favor of a crucial tool for redeveloping contaminated and abandoned land


Yards Park in Washington, DC was built on the site of a former brownfield. Photo via Flickr.

Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, will testify before Congress this afternoon in favor of the BUILD Act, a bipartisan plan for helping communities clean up old brownfields (polluted former industrial sites) and abandoned land, and return them to productive use for communities across the country.

The testimony will be before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee at 2:00 PM today, as part of a hearing titled “Cleaning Up and Restoring Communities for Economic Revitalization.” The hearing will likely be viewable online as a stream. for a link on the Committee’s website later this afternoon.

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Geoff Anderson to testify before Senate EPW committee on brownfields and the BUILD Act

hearing

Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson will testify before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works next week to discuss the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act.

If passed, the bill would help communities across the country clean up contaminated and abandoned land and put it back into productive use.

“The BUILD Act is a win for everyone—Congress, local governments, business owners and taxpayers,” said Anderson in March, when the bill was introduced. “Brownfields restoration drives economic growth while giving local governments the flexibility to pursue the projects they need the most. Transforming a community’s financial sinkhole into a new business or residential building is a no-brainer.”

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Join us next week for “The Next Generation of Transit: the key to Montgomery’s green future”

Join Smart Growth America’s President Geoff Anderson, the Coalition for Smarter Growth and the Montgomery County Sierra Club next week for a panel and discussion about transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and smart growth solutions in Montgomery County, MD. Get the latest updates on Montgomery transit projects and join fellow advocates for discussion about smart growth issues in the county.

When: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
6:00-8:00 PM
Where: Silver Spring Civic Center,
One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910
RSVP: Click here to register for this free event.


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Smart growth gaining traction during economic downturn

Smart Growth America’s President and CEO Geoff Anderson and Vice President of Policy and Research Bill Fulton sat down last week with the San Diego Union Tribune‘s Roger Showley to talk about places using smart growth strategies in a tough economic climate and the state of the smart growth movement. From ‘Smart Growth’ gaining traction in downturn:

Q: What is the state of smart growth at a time of slow growth and economic stagnation?

Geoffrey Anderson: Smart growth is gaining traction, particularly if you look over a 15-to-20-year perspective. If you think back to the mid-’90s when cities were almost assumed to be dead — relics of a past age that were overtaken by the domination of auto-oriented suburbs — the contrast between that view of walkable neighborhoods, of smart growth and what we see today, is striking by any measure, and nowhere more so than how the market views it. There was a lot of skepticism among the private sector that this was something people wanted, and now it’s practically a given by a lot of the development community.

Q: What’s driving this change?

Anderson: We’d be fools to discount the impact of changing demographics. The difference between the 1960s, when half the households had kids and today’s (is that) it’s 30 percent and headed downward — you can’t overstate that difference in the population. We’ve built up a regulatory, financial and development infrastructure to serve that market. Look away for a second and it’s changed, and we forgot to change with it.

Q: How has smart growth played out in the real estate recession?

Anderson: Part of what we’ve learned is where we have really overbuilt. Virtually every place around the country forms a concentric circle. Moving out, values have been dropping. You see center areas and walkable areas holding values best, and large-lot, drive-only places are losing value.

Read the full article: ‘Smart Growth’ gaining traction in downturn (San Diego Union Tribune, February 13, 2012).

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Birmingham, AL looks for ways to grow smarter

In 2000, the average resident of Birmingham, AL drove 34.8 miles each day, and only 2% of residents took transit or walked to work. Now, Birmingham is looking to change these trends and asked Smart Growth America for ideas about how to do it.

The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham invited Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson and LOCUS President Chris Leinberger to come to Birmingham last week to speak about smarter growth. In a joint presentation, Anderson and Leinberger discussed new trends in neighborhood design and what they could mean for Alabama.

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American Jobs Act’s Project Rebuild Aims to Revitalize Vacant Homes

Originally posted on Huffington Post.

When the housing bubble popped in 2009, it left many American communities with foreclosed and vacant homes and businesses.

The American Jobs Act would help restore thousands of these abandoned properties and put construction workers back to work in the process with Project Rebuild. The $15 billion project would create thousands of jobs to tear down abandoned properties, renovate foreclosed homes and maintain abandoned properties until they can be sold once again. Intended to initially help communities with the largest number of foreclosed properties, Project Rebuild would create much-needed jobs and energize the country’s blighted communities at the same time. Key components of the project include:

  • Stabilizing communities by focusing on distressed commercial properties and redevelopment;
  • Federal funding to support for-profit development — when consistent with project aims and subject to strict oversight requirements;
  • Increased support for “land banking”;
  • Establishing property maintenance programs to create jobs and mitigate “visible scars” left by vacant/abandoned properties.


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NPR on the importance of transit and road repair for job creation

With President Barack Obama looking to stimulate a stagnant economy and create jobs through infrastructure investments in the American Jobs Act, it’s important to look at the lessons we learned from the previous stimulus.

NPR’s Yuki Noguchi talked with Smart Growth America’s President and CEO Geoff Anderson to discuss the importance of transit and repair of existing infrastructure for a infrastructure stimulus to be effective.

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Obama urges Congress to move quickly on transportation bill

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden today, President Barack Obama urged Congress to move quickly to pass legislation to fund transportation projects.

“Now is the time for Congress to extend the transportation bill, keep our workers on the job,” he said. “Now is the time to put our country before party and give certainty to the people who are trying to get by. There’s work to done. There are workers ready to do it. That’s why I expect Congress to act immediately.”

Smart Growth America President Geoff Anderson attended President Obama’s speech today and was encouraged by his push to fund transportation projects now.

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